Oil rigs provide the world with the fuel that is needed to keep the world running. However, it is common knowledge that they may potentially cause harm to not only living creatures but also the environment they rely on to survive. This was proven in the spring of 2010 when an oil rig off the Gulf of Mexico exploded and resulted in an oil spill. This catastrophic event opened millions of eyes to the errors that can be found in the way oil rigs are set up. It also caused people to take a closer look at whose responsibility it is to make sure all the safety codes and procedures are being followed before a drilling plan in approved.
The BP disaster not only drew people’s attention to the process of oil drilling, it also had a serious impact on the economy and an even more tragic impact on the environment and wildlife around it. It also provided a perfect example of the dangers oil drilling can pose if it is done in an area not prepared to handle the consequences. On April 20, 2010 an offshore oil rig owned by BP (British Petroleum) blew up, taking the lives of 11 people before beginning to dump dangerous amounts of crude oil into the ocean and coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico.
The oil rig, known as Deepwater Horizon, is believed to have dumped more than 200 million gallons of the oil before it was capped off three months later. This number however, is only an estimate due to the refusal of BP to allow actual measures of the oil to be obtained by professionals. Although we have been dealing with oil spills for years, until the BP oil spill the worst oil disaster had been the Exxon Valdez spill in 1979. This spill, also in the Gulf of Mexico, was responsible for launching the huge controversy over the safety of oil rigs.
This famous oil spill dumped around 11 million gallons of oil. The BP oil spill passed this number up with ease. By far, it is the worst oil disaster that our nation ever has and hopefully ever will see. However, until we correct the errors in oil drilling that are responsible for so many oil spills, they will continue to happen. Although oil rigs malfunction due to a variety of causes, in the case of the Deepwater Horizon explosion the cause was the result of the blowout preventers failing to deploy properly. They are supposed to deploy when mud, oil and any other substances get up the piping and make their way up to the platform. They are then at risk for catching fire.
The blowout protectors are meant to keep the junk from making it allthe way up the pipes. In this case, however, not only did the manual protectors fail to work but the emergency protectors failed as well. Unfortunately this isn’t unusual. Blowout preventers are actually a common cause of oil rig explosions. Oil rigs work by using a pipe to pump oil from miles below the ocean floor. Without strong safety requirements, malfunctions will happen. When malfunctions happen, leeks happen.
However, the BP oil spill can’t be blamed only on those who allowed the plan to happen, there are also governmental agencies such as the Minerals Management Service, who are responsible for overseeing the operation and ensuring that the safety regulations are met. It has been questioned whether or not some of these agencies actually did their job. Whatever the case, the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and the economy felt the effects. Although places all over were affected by the oil spill, the states that were directly affected were Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and parts of Texas. Hotels still saw little business after the spill but it was mostly people who came to help clean up and rescue animals.
Tourism, which would be the usual cause of hotel business, was nonexistent. It is not only possible, but likely that these states will have lost millions of dollars due to lack of tourism due to the disaster. In return, hotels hadt to drop their rates and increase specials such as free meals and golf. BP also gave all affected states money to try and compensate for what they had lost due to the mess. BP also gave money to Florida to help promote clean beaches. Tourism was not the only way the oil spill affected the economy, real estate in those areas also saw a significant drop so did the fishing businesses. BP overall has lost over 100 billion dollars since the spill began and is still facing many lawsuits.
What is most devastating is the massive number of animals and sea life that were hurt by the oil and the many more who were effected from the loss of their habitat. In a study performed by the Center for Biological Diversity, an organization dedicated to protecting all living species, shows that around 82,000 birds were harmed by the BP oil spill. It also shows that around 6,000 sea turtles and 26,000 marine mammals were also victims of the spill. This doesn’t include the many thousands of fish and other sea creatures that were harmed.
These numbers may be high due to the fact that the spill occurred during the season that ocean animals were migrating to the Gulf’s regions. The actual oil leaking was not the only way that nature was harmed. There is no doubt that tragic amounts of damage can be caused by oil drilling gone wrong. It directly harms living animals, destroys their environment and is extremely difficult to repair. The BP disaster is a perfect example of all these dangers of oil drilling. Overall the BP oil spill was a terrible disaster that caused harm to the economy and wildlife.
However, if there is one thing to be found out, it is that this disaster opened millions of eyes to the many flaws of the oil drilling business. More people now than ever are standing up and demanding that safety precautions be taken more seriously and the drilling plans must be approved cautiously.